The more things change the more they remain the same. I have come to accept this truth as I spend time with Wazees. Access to age-old wisdom has been one of the benefits of playing golf. When life was easier before corona, we would play golf and enjoy the nineteenth hole (the clubhouse) in the evening. I remember chats with some senior citizens that carried on from the golf course into the clubhouse. A lot of the conversations would begin randomly once we teed off. Then based on the mood and chemistry between us they would go deeper and I would learn a thing or two. Now that president Uhuru has allowed us to play golf again, I look forward to resuming those chats with our senior folks, but only on the golf course since we cannot yet gather as freely. The nineteenth hole remains closed for the foreseeable future.
Last weekend I traveled to Nakuru county. It was my first travel out of Nairobi since the five-county lockdown. Driving past the viewpoints of the great rift valley made me realize how much I have missed being out there. The magic of Kenya always gets to you. My camera was happy to click away at those landscape shots.
I was going to close on some business for my dad. To do that successfully I needed to meet up with his pal of many years who lives in Nakuru. My dad and Mzee Francis started their careers together in Nakuru when they got employed by Kenya commercial bank in the early 70s. Sadly my dad’s pal has been ill for some time so we could not move as fast as we would have wanted.
Once I got to Nakuru I checked in at my favorite accommodation place, Brownies. It’s next to Greensteads school. It is my home away from home. If you want a good hot shower, comfortable bed and great food all set in a secure and tranquil location then make Brownies your preferred abode when in Nakuru. You won’t regret it. For enquiries call +254 700073455
After settling in I called a kijana who works with Mzee Frank because Mzee’s phone was mteja. He informed me that Mzee was home recuperating. I drove there and met with Mzee Francis and his wife. They updated me on how challenging the last several weeks have been. I encouraged them and even called my dad to speak with his long-time pal. That lifted his spirits. A good friendship shared breathes life into dry bones.
Mzee asked me to allow him to rest for a day and regain some strength. He asked me to pick him on Saturday to go to his office in town and get the documents my dad needed. That freed my Friday and guess where I chose to spend it? at Lake Nakuru national park. These wild spaces excite me sana. Global warming is real. The water levels have risen to the extent that part of the forest in the park is underwater. The roads are well maintained though so kudos to Kenya Wildlife Service for that.
Did you know that Amboseli and Lake Nakuru parks are rated premium parks? Now you know. I found that out because it cost me, my camera, and my car more to get in compared to our usual rate at Nairobi national park. But it was well worth it. I managed to get some shots though I didn’t find as many flamingoes as I’d hoped for. However, I witnessed what seemed like a water performance of many white pelicans on the lake. It was like a guard of honor inspection, bird style. Like the ones we see at Nyayo stadium on Jamhuri or Madaraka day. It was a day well spent.
The following day I met up with mzee Francis and to conclude our business as agreed. On the way to town, he gave me many stories of how Nakuru and life in general, was back in the day when they were starting out with my dad. It was clear that they had the same concerns, fears, and aspirations that I do at this stage in my life. He spoke of decisions (some instant and blind) and lucky breaks they got along the way that cumulatively have landed them where they are today.
I felt validated. Though I may feel like I’m stalling I’m still advancing towards the life I desire for myself and my clan. Sometimes we may feel stuck in life until we meet someone much older and ahead of us whose life acts as a magnifying glass for our path. The daily small steps we take may not be noticeable but after a long period, the evidence of consistent effort is clear. That’s what I have come to learn from spending time with these older folks.
Another lesson learned from hanging out with Wazees is the benefit of failed plans that you only enjoy much later in life. At the time they were distraught at things not going their way. Little did they know that they would be thanking God for unanswered prayers decades later. One golf course story to illustrate this was of a former civil servant in the Moi regime. He and his cronies had planned to grab golf course land and divide it among themselves. Their plans were going well until some golfers blew the whistle. Our past president Mwai Kibaki (who was an avid golfer himself) intervened and saved both the day and the golf course.
Upon retirement, that same civil servant would play golf several times a week at this same course that he had planned to grab. He once confessed how miserable his life would have been if he didn’t have access to this course. He passed time there playing golf which had become a key highlight of his week and life in general. At that moment he was proud of his failed plans.
The lesson here is to make plans but loosen the grip on the outcome. Having older and wiser folk in our lives is like doing the exam of life with leakage. You are bound to score highly if you follow through on what you learn from them. I’m fortunate to have a sneak peek into the future on how life generally pans out.
OLD is indeed GOLF …. Oops I meant GOLD